PAINE, John (1833-1908)
Studio portrait of an Aboriginal man with ritual scarification, possibly northern New South Wales, late 1870s.
Albumen print photograph, carte de visite format, 105 x 64 mm (mount), verso wet stamped ‘J. Paine Photo. Sydney’; both the albumen print and mount are in fine condition.
English-born photographer John Paine established a photographic studio in the Sydney suburb of Waterloo in 1875, having previously lived and worked in the New England region of New South Wales. In 1879 he exhibited at the Sydney International Exhibition, where he won a silver medal.
It is not known whether Paine travelled to the northern coastal region of New South Wales, but the subject of this striking head-and-torso portrait – a warrior-like young man with dorsal scarification – is reminiscent of some of the sitters in J.W. Lindt’s portraits of Clarence River people, take in Grafton in 1872-73.
The carte de visite came from a nineteenth century travel album which contained images dating roughly to between 1873 and 1880.